17,000 Have Been Evacuated in Israel

Because of the approach of the nation’s largest and worst fire disaster in its history.  Haifa is under threat.

Mass evacuations continued across northern Israel Friday morning as dry easterly winds fanned a massive brushfire towards the city of Haifa.  Over 17,000 residents, including 600 prison inmates, were evacuated as the blaze raged out of control, devastating hundreds of acres of pine forest before sweeping down the slopes of the Carmel plateau towards Israel’s third largest city.

Heavens!  This is horrible.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said evacuations would continue and that authorities would take no risks where civilian lives were in danger.  “Evacuations will be conducted as needed, with sufficient advance warning. We do not want any more injuries,” said Netanyahu, who called an emergency cabinet meeting for Friday morning.  As the fire raged on, the town Isfiyeh, a center for Israel’s Druze community, much of which is concentrated in the Carmel mountains, was next to be evacuated.  Police also evacuated prisoners from Prison 6 and Carmel Prison, as well as students in Haifa University dormitories, who were transferred to a nearby high school.  Some 200 patients from the Tirat Hacarmel psychiatric hospital were also evacuated.

Just ghastly.  God have mercy.

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